Chances are you’ve already seen tons of Best of 2011 lists already, but as a music blogger, I of course have to throw in my two cents. As usual, it’s been a phenomenal year for music lovers like myself, and I’ve spent all of 2011 digging into new releases like it’s going outta style. While I certainly didn’t hear it all, I heard enough to have a pretty good idea of what stands out ahead of the pack. So this is just a rundown of the 10 frontrunners (plus 10 more that vied hardily for those positions) that I believe should absolutely not go overlooked.
1. Noah Gundersen – Family
Okay, so technically this is an EP. But it’s seven songs long, which to me qualifies as full enough to make my list. I mean, as you can see, I’m ranking it No. 1, and if I had to acknowledge it as an EP, then I wouldn’t be able to include it on this list at all. And that, my friends, would be a monumental shame because Noah Gundersen’s music sounds like it was made by angels. So, I said screw it, this is my list and I’m leaving it on. The Seattle musician has a little masterpiece on his hands with Family — at times cleanly rootsy and others softly dulcet. He’s a young man, but his songwriting chops (not to mention his lyrics) are some of the most seasoned and professional I’ve ever witnessed.
Nashville – Noah Gundersen
2. Timber Timbre – Creep On Creepin’ On
I don’t know what I can say about this album that I didn’t already say in my review earlier this year. Basically, if you’ve heard Timber Timbre before (especially the trio’s 2009 self-titled album), then you can rest assured that Creep On Creepin’ On is more of what you already know and love. As you can tell, Timber Timbre continues to grow and change yet still hold onto its brooding exterior through all its subtle evolutions from one album to the next.
Too Old to Die Young – Timber Timbre
3. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing
I’d heard of the Rural Alberta Advantage before, but it was this year that I fell in love with them. A lot of people have seemed unimpressed with Departing, the folk-rock band’s sophomore album. But it’s brought me nothing but joy, despite the tragic tales set forth by the pained vocals of Nils Edenloff. The fact is, these singable melodies about the darker sides of life and love have been occupying my ears nearly all year, and I’ve found I still can’t get enough.
Coldest Days – The Rural Alberta Advantage
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